The 6 Tech Products We’re Most Excited for in 2024
From spatial computers to AI wearables to game consoles, 2024 is already looking packed with big product launches.
In many ways, 2023 was a mess, but it was also a year for a surprising number of exciting new tech products. AI took center stage, mixed reality received a shot in the arm, multiple new foldables were released, and modular, upgradeable laptops highlighted repairability.
But all of that was laying the groundwork for next year. In 2024, Apple will release its vision for the future of computing to the general public, an entirely new category of wearables will get its first star in Humane’s Ai Pin, and The Browser Company is hyping up something bigger than a new browser. And that’s just in the first half of the year.
With the possibility of everything from a sequel to the Nintendo Switch to a complete redesign of the Apple Watch for its 10th anniversary, 2024 is shaping up to make an even bigger splash than this year.
6. Arc 2.0
We’re not shy about admitting our love for The Browser Company’s Arc browser. Credit it to using Google Chrome as its underlying foundation, the company’s candid marketing style, or just the simple fact that Arc feels both more fun and capable than other web browsers out there, even if it's technically capable of less, but we’re hooked. Arc is just a web browser, for now, but The Browser Company has imbued it with some big ideas about how our interactions with the internet should change going forward, the biggest being that since everything’s happening there anyway, why shouldn’t a browser be your “computer?”
It sounds like there’s even more in store in 2024. The Browser Company officially announced it is entering “Act II” on January 30, 2024, and it seems like even deeper AI integration is on the table. Arc was updated to include a collection of features called “Arc Max” that utilized AI to streamline aspects of the browsing process, like renaming downloads to easier-to-understand names, letting you ask ChatGPT questions directly from the URL bar, and summarizing whatever’s on the other end of a link when you hover your mouse over it. Whatever this second phase of Arc is, it seems like it will further use AI to improve the experience of existing on the web, potentially even offering a way to avoid using Google entirely.
5. Google Pixel Fold 2
Even for a first-generation product, Google got closer than most to the ideal version of a folding phone with the Pixel Fold. The passport-sized body with a gapless hinge, pleasant-to-use external display, and tablet software optimizations across Android went a long way toward making the Pixel Fold a joy to use. Now Google needs to make the Pixel Fold 2 perfect.
Reports suggest the Pixel Fold 2 will have bigger screens, but Google needs more than polished hardware to make the Pixel Fold 2 work. The most enticing parts of the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro were the new generative AI-powered features available in multiple parts of the camera experience and the Google Assistant with Bard. The next Fold could use a healthy dose of AI to help it stand out. A more comfortable hinge (one that actually unfolds completely flat), larger screens, and software ideas that only make sense on a big screen could turn the Pixel Fold 2 into a winner. A lower price would also greatly help. Hopefully, when Google I/O rolls around next year, we will see all of that and more.
4. Apple Watch X
The Apple Watch was announced in 2014, making 2024 the 10th anniversary of Apple’s smartwatch. The iPhone maker doesn’t always put too much stock in anniversary hardware, but it sounds like the next Apple Watch or the “Apple Watch X” could be as big as the iPhone X was. According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on a smartwatch with a slimmer case, a brighter microLED display, a new magnetic method for attaching bands, and a sensor for tracking blood pressure, on top of the Apple Watch’s existing ability to monitor heart rate and blood oxygen levels.
It’s not clear if the Apple Watch X will make it out the door in 2024 or 2025 (the original Apple Watch was announced in 2014 and didn’t go on sale until 2015), but it is time for a refresh. The Apple Watch Series 9 is not a dramatic leap forward from previous generations, even with interesting features like Double Tap. Apple needs to shift the Apple Watch into a new gear, and a big redesign could be exactly the thing to do it.
3. Nintendo Switch 2
After plenty of false starts and an underrated half-step in the Nintendo Switch OLED, it finally seems like there’s a Switch 2 on the way in 2024. Nintendo isn’t expected to radically rethink the unique handheld-with-a-dock form factor of the current Switch in favor of sheer performance to compete with the PS5 or Xbox Series S/X. But the Switch 2 is rumored to support 4K output, along with Nvidia’s DLSS AI upscaling tech for improved graphics and framerate, according to Eurogamer.
Nintendo has also confirmed that future hardware will use the same Nintendo Account system as the current Switch, which could mean that the Switch 2 is backward compatible with current games. At the very least, there’s real hope Nintendo could reveal its plans soon. The Nintendo Switch is a great console, but you don’t have to play many games from 2023 to realize it’s getting long in the tooth.
2. Humane Ai Pin
Humane’s Ai Pin has had a somewhat bumpy and frustrating rollout since the company first revealed it was building a wearable at a TED talk earlier this year. A hands-off demo and a slow trickle of information later, and we have a slightly better idea of what the Ai Pin is, but it’s clear now that the device won’t be a smartphone replacement. At least not yet.
Even with all of the opaqueness, we’re stoked that Humane is trying something so radically different from anything that’s come before it. A badge that offers instant access to a growing list of AI experiences and a laser projector interface screams futuristic. And if you’re as addicted to your phone as we are, it’s easy to see the appeal of a device that keeps you connected without calling for your attention all of the time. There’s a world where the rough edges of the Ai Pin (like the fact it doesn’t run apps) make it more successful at figuring out what comes after smartphones.
1. Apple Vision Pro
The biggest product that’s likely going to command our attention in the first half of 2024 is the Apple Vision Pro. The “spatial computer” looks a bit like a VR headset, but doesn’t entirely work like one. It runs iPad and iOS apps and seems destined to become more of a general computing device if Apple gets its way. In many ways, the Vision Pro is the company’s first baby step towards proper augmented reality glasses.
From everything we’ve heard and seen, the Vision Pro could also legitimize the kind of mixed reality experiences Meta has spent the last few years trying to popularize, while introducing dozens of quality-of-life improvements that put the Vision Pro ahead of anything else on the market. Its $3,500 price tag can only cause sticker shock, but considering how impressive features like “spatial video” already sound, the Vision Pro might not have trouble carving out some kind of space for itself. Even if it's not a financial success for Apple out of the gate, the headset will have a huge influence moving forward, and for that reason alone, it’s arguably the most interesting piece of consumer tech on the way in 2024.
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